How to Make Sense of Hebrew Word Order

Whether you’ve studied Greek and Hebrew or just read the interlinear line, you’ve probably noticed that the ordering of Greek and Hebrew words sounds remarkably like you’d expect Yoda from the Star Wars saga to speak. Most introductory grammars don’t even tackle the issue of word order. So is there any exegetical significance to the Greek and Hebrew word order? Absolutely!

Most traditional grammarians like Gesenius or A. T. Robertson recognized two general motives for placing information in front of the verb: contrast and emphasis. Newer grammars like Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar and Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament, applying principles from modern linguistics, have sharpened our understanding of word order. But unless you are a biblical language expert specializing in information structure, you’d be hard-pressed to accurately analyze word order until just recently.

The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament provide you with sentence-by-sentence word order analyses. Accompanying introductions help you understand the important difference between emphasis and frame of reference (traditionally called contrast). The Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament is currently available in a special bundle with six other resources including the Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament and the High Definition Commentary: Philippians.

The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible will be shipping soon, helping you identify and understand the same useful concepts that pastors and teachers have come to value in the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. The initial release will provide an analysis of Genesis–2 Samuel. The entire database is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

For those of you who’ve never studied Hebrew or Greek, the Lexham High Definition: ESV Edition resources mark every place where the biblical writers have used word order or some other device to emphasize important ideas. If you buy the Greek or Hebrew database, the ESV Edition comes bundled with it. All these resources include a glossary and introduction to help you get the most out of the text.

Remember how I said you’d need an expert in biblical languages to properly analyze word order? Well, about a year ago Logos hired Josh Westbury as a Hebrew language specialist to partner with me in completing the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible/HDOT project. He is currently in a doctoral program with my former adviser and friend Christo Van der Merwe. Look for Hebrew versions of popular resources like Discourse Grammar of the GNT and Lexham High Definition Commentaries written in conjunction with my new colleague, Josh!

Lock In the Best Price on the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series!

The Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Old Testament is an example of the intelligent, relevant, and engaging resources published by Baker Books. Each author in this 16-volume series bridges the gap between ancient Hebrew language and practice and contemporary understanding. You can pre-order the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series on Pre-Pub right now for only $99.95—but the price goes up Monday, July 9.

The goal of this series is to tear down the walls that keep modern readers puzzling over the ancient world. Through a section-by-section analysis of the biblical text, highlighted key phrases and terms, and transliterated Greek and Hebrew, this commentary makes the Old Testament’s significance clear to contemporary readers.

Some readers worry that focusing on accessibility sacrifices scholarship. Not so with the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series. Every chapter ends with supplemental in-depth technical and textual information. Pastors and Bible students will find the Scripture and subject indexes, not to mention the bibliographies, helpful for digging deeper into their studies.

Increase the power of your Logos library with insights from notable authors like:

Pre-order this collection today and enrich your networked Old Testament resources. You can get this on Pre-Pub at $99.95, but time is of the essence. The price goes up to $179.95 on Monday, July 9. Order now!

Free Book of the Month: Selected Sermons of George Whitefield

“The Judge is before the door: he that cometh will come, and will not tarry: his reward is with him. And we shall all (if we are zealous for the Lord of hosts) ere long shine as the stars in the firmament, in the kingdom of our heavenly Father, for ever and ever.”—George Whitefield

Selected Sermons of George Whitefield is July’s Free Book of the Month!

George Whitefield (1714–1770), a contemporary of John and Charles Wesley, was an influential figure in the Great Awakening. He toured New England, England, Scotland, and Wales, preaching to crowds that at times numbered in the tens of thousands.

How Can I Get It?

To download your free book, all you need is a Logos.com account—and it’s completely free to register. Our system currently requires a credit card on file for all “purchases”; this includes free items. But don’t worry—you won’t be billed for your free book.

If you had an account in the past but forgot your password, changing your password is easy.

When registering, you’ll be able to sign up for various email lists. Read through these and check boxes for updates that interest you. Make sure you click the Freebies, Contests, and Giveaways list. Now that you have a Logos account, you don’t want to miss out on all the giveaways and free items we make available (like the Faithlife Study Bible!).

Your Logos.com account is useful for downloading your favorite Christian books from Vyrso.com, and it’s also your gateway to the Faithlife community.

How Can I Read It?

So you’ve signed up for an account and got your free book. Now what? You can enjoy Selected Sermons on the following platforms:

  • Logos 4: It doesn’t matter if you’re new to Bible study or you have a DMin; this award-winning software takes you deeper into the Word. Invest in one of our base packages or download the free engine (PC or Mac).
  • iPhone or iPad: Read Selected Sermons on the Logos Bible Software app.*
  • Android: Read it on the Logos Bible Software app for your Android phone or tablet.*
  • Biblia.com: Read it on Biblia.com from anywhere you have internet access.
  • Vyrso app: Need a simplified ebook reading experience? With the Vyrso app, read Selected Sermons alongside your Logos and Vyrso books on your iPhone and Android device.
  • Faithlife app: Read Whitefield alongside the Faithlife Study Bible.

Get Started Now!

You can get Whitefield’s book free through the end of July, and when you visit the Free Book of the Month page, you can enter to win the 13-volume Works of George Whitefield collection.

Visit the Free Book of the Month page to download your free book and enter the giveaway!

*When you sign in to the app with your free Logos.com account, you’ll get access to 67 free books!

Save $300 on Boice’s Expositional Commentaries

James Montgomery Boice’s Expositional Commentaries presents Scripture in an easy-to-read fashion without sacrificing any of its depth or profundity.

As respected theologian and pastor R. C. Sproul said, “Dr. Boice’s commentary series is a treasure for the church and for her pastors. No expository preacher can afford to be without it.” And for the next week, you can get the 27-volume Boice’s Expositional Commentaries collection for only $99.95 with the coupon code JULYBOICE! If you were to pick up this collection at any other time, you’d pay $399.95—but today you’ll save 75%. This is the lowest price we’ve been able to offer on this collection in years!

For more than 30 years, Boice pastored Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He was president and cofounder of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, the parent organization of The Bible Study Hour radio broadcast, which Boice led and contributed to for more than 30 years. He also served as chairman of the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy for over 10 years.

Boice pours a lifetime of preaching and teaching into these 27 commentaries. With remarkable skill, Boice presents the biblical narrative (as well as important doctrines) in a way that relates to the lives of all believers. If you’re looking for biblical resources that can be used for reference or read devotionally, the Boice’s Expositional Commentaries collection is a perfect fit.

No matter where you turn in this series, you’ll be edified by powerful content written from a pastoral perspective. Check out these gems:

“If you have been called to faith in Jesus Christ, you are part of the radically changed community, the new humanity.”

“Grace reigns, not because God is gracious to us no matter what we do, but because grace has created in us a genuinely godly walk.”

“Christianity has been the most powerful, transforming force in human history, and the book of Romans is the most basic, most comprehensive statement of true Christianity.”

“There’s nothing today’s church needs so much as to rediscover the doctrine, spirit, and commitments of the early Christian community.”

“If we allow God to use us, we become important spiritually. For the Lord Jesus Christ himself is seen in the conduct of his followers.”

Don’t wait. This is an incredible resource at a once-in-a-lifetime price. Purchase Boice’s Expositional Commentaries by 11:59 pm (PST) Friday, July 13, using coupon code JULYBOICE and you’ll save $300!

Celebrate Faith This Fourth of July!

The United States of America turns 236 on Wednesday, July 4! To honor this occasion, we’ve marked down some of our bestselling resources dealing with the intersection of American history and Christian faith.

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”—John Adams in a letter to his wife, Abigail

It was Mr. Adams’ original conviction that American independence would be forever celebrated on July 2—the day that Congress, in a closed-door session, approved the resolution of independence. As it turns out, Adams was off by a couple of days. Americans celebrate the day that the Declaration was formally adopted and a copy of the manuscript officially printed.

Independence Day was already being celebrated one year later. On July 4, 1777, the city of Philadelphia held an elaborate celebration which included a public display of fireworks, forever tying pyrotechnics to American independence festivities.

Here’s what the Virginia Gazette had to say about the event:

“The glorious fourth of July was reiterated three times accompanied with triple discharges of cannon and small arms, and loud huzzas that resounded from street to street through the city. Towards evening several troops of horse, a corps of artillery, and a brigade of North Carolina forces, which was in town on its way to join the grand army, were drawn up in Second street and reviewed by Congress and the General Officers.

The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.

Every thing was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal. Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age till time shall be no more. Amen, and amen.”

For the Founding Fathers, American independence was explicitly tied to spirituality and religious liberty. Freedom was a right bestowed by an almighty Creator. So, convinced that God supported their cry of freedom, America’s forefathers placed “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” as they pledged their lives, belongings, and honor in support of this ideal.

Come celebrate America’s independence and religious heritage with Logos. Save on titles like:

Visit Logos.com/FourthofJuly and pick up incredible works on American history, faith, and theology. Hurry—the sale ends at midnight (PST), July 6!

Who’s in the Spotlight?

One of the big challenges in studying Old Testament stories is identifying the central character, the one to whom the writer wants you paying close attention. This is especially true in complex stories like that of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing, in which Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau each play an important role. So how do you find the central character, the one in the spotlight?

The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament help you find information like this by marking all the places where the most important linguistic devices occur. The device we’ll look at today is overspecification.

Background:

Think about the last time you introduced someone to someone else. Chances are you gave a name (“This is Jayson…”) plus some specific connection to you (“. . . my neighbor” or “. . . a friend from work”). You picked the most relevant connection for the context, which required you to choose which connection to use. Here’s what I mean. If I were speaking at a conference, they’d never introduce me as “Ruth’s dad” or “Jayson’s friend.”  They’d pick the connection most relevant to the context, like “scholar-in-residence” or “doctor of biblical languages.” After the introduction, they’d only use my name, usually there’s no more mention of the connection. Usually, that is.

Genesis 27

Genesis 27 recounts the story of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing. The main characters are already well established from the preceding context, as is their connection to one another. So why is it that the writer keeps repeating their connection to one another, e.g., “Esau his older son” (Gen 27:1), “Jacob her son”, and “Esau your brother” (Gen 27:6)? What is accomplished by these overly specific connections? They exist for two reasons; we’ll cover the first one in this post.

Since connections are only needed when someone is first introduced, repeating them where they’re not required helps us see where the writer has placed the spotlight. How? Even though the connection is unneeded, it still instructs us how to connect the person to the story. Here’s how it works. The story opens with Esau connected to Isaac as “his son” in v. 1, instructing him to fix him a savory meal. After Rebekah hears of Isaac’s plans, she calls for Jacob, “her son.” Note the shift here. He could have simply been called “Jacob” or alternatively connected to Isaac as “his son.” By connecting Jacob to Rebekah, the writer shifts the spotlight from Isaac to Rebekah just as Rebekah begins hatching a plan to divert Isaac’s blessing from Esau to Jacob.

In Gen. 27:11, overspecification signals another shift in the spotlight, just before Jacob protests against Rebekah’s request. He’s no longer called “her son”; instead, Rebekah is called “his mother.” This new connection forces us to the new initiator.

The coolest example of overspecification comes as Jacob presents the meal he’s prepared to Isaac. Gen 27:17 states that Rebekah gives the food to “Jacob her son,” who, in turn, takes it to “his father.” Here the connections and spotlight shift from Rebekah to Jacob. In v. 20, as Isaac questions the identity of the meal-bearer, he speaks to “his son!” Which one? He’s not sure, and the writer of Scripture captures this ambiguity by changing from “Jacob” vaguer “his son!” In v. 21, as Isaac prepares to touch and smell the one addressing him, there are no connections provided! Why not? It avoids making any judgment about who’s initiating, whether Jacob will triumph or whether Isaac will reject his claim.

Finally in v. 22, as Isaac gives in to Jacob’s request, the expression “Isaac his father” is used, connecting him to Jacob right at the point that Isaac decides to go along with Jacob’s request, despite his misgivings.

The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the High Definition Old Testament use a silhouette symbol () to mark all the overly specific references.

In Gen 27 this devices is used to signal shifts by providing new connections between participants. The changes coincide with shifts in initiators, heightening the drama of an already exciting story. The resource annotates all occurrences of 30 of the most exegetically significant discourse devices, and it includes both an introduction and a glossary that help you understand what each accomplishes. The analysis also provides a block-indent outline to help you break down the complexities of Hebrew syntax.

There’s also a version specially designed for those who haven’t studied Hebrew: The Lexham High Definition Old Testament  (HDOT). Even though the analysis is based on the Hebrew text, nearly all the same discourse devices are available, displayed on the ESV text.

Both resources come with an introduction and glossary to explain the concepts. Plus the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible comes bundled with the HDOT in a six-volume bundle: the Hebrew and the English together at a special price.

There’s a parallel set of New Testament resources currently available that use the same symbols and same linguistic framework:

These resources are part of a growing suite of exegetical resources that apply cutting-edge linguistic research to day-to-day study, helping you find important details often lost in translation.

Pre-order your copy of the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament while they’re available on Pre-Pub. Then check out the rest of our Lexham resources.

Take the Tour Winner Visits the Logos Campus!

We launched Logos’ 20th-anniversary Take the Tour contest in February. Not only did Logos users come out of the woodwork to suggest witty captions for our virtual tour of the Logos campus, thousands entered to win a trip to Bellingham, WA, to see our facility first hand. When the smoke cleared, Irvine, California resident Jefferson Lee won an all-expenses-paid Logos tour.

“I was excited!” exclaimed Lee, the international philanthropy director at Wycliffe USA. “Then I thought . . . is this spam? I don’t normally win a lot of things, so it was really nice. I’d really like to visit their office since [Wycliffe] provides translations for Logos Bible Software.”

Wednesday, June 27, Lee and his family spent the day touring the facility and getting to know some of the individuals behind Logos Bible Software. The kids enjoyed some air hockey and foosball, and Executive Vice-President Dan Pritchett challenged Rachel Lee to a game of ping-pong, which she graciously let him win. (Truth be told, Dan plays a mean game of table tennis. If you have plans to tour the Logos campus, see if you can book a game with him.*) Meanwhile, Jefferson drank espresso and took in the view of Bellingham Bay from Bob’s office on the seventh floor of the Flatiron building.

Not only did the Lees enjoy a tour of the Logos campus, they took advantage of their Pacific Northwest visit to explore Seattle (coffee capital of America and home to Microsoft and Boeing) and Vancouver, BC, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics and neighbor to the world-famous Whistler Ski Resort.

We’d Love to See You Too!

If you ever find yourself passing through Bellingham, stop in for a visit. We do hundreds of impromptu tours every year for people who just drop in. We’d be happy to walk you through our offices. You might even get a game of ping-pong out of it.

We know you might not be able to make it in person. That’s why we created the virtual tour. You can take a 10-minute stroll through Logos and not miss a thing. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again: we recently released Take the Tour 2.0 with new footage and laughs.

Like what you see? Want your desk featured in a future iteration of the Take the Tour video?  If you are looking for fun, rewarding work, check out our Careers page. We might be looking for you!

*There’s a $100 Logos book credit for the first person who can beat Dan at ping-pong while visiting Logos.

Think you have what it takes to beat Dan? Let us know in the comments.

Is Your School a Logos Bible Software Partner?

You’ve seen announcements about our partnership with Knox Theological Seminary, and you know that Logos is the standard, indispensable tool for every one of Knox’s Preaching and Teaching DMin students. But what you may not know is that Logos Bible software is rapidly becoming an essential and fundamental tool for many Christian colleges and seminaries.

Logos Helps Students Succeed

Couple automatic, customizable citations for more than 27,000 available titles (and counting!) with the ability to do hours of research in seconds, and it’s no wonder that the students and faculty of educational institutions are making Logos a requisite in their regular curricula. Factor in the ability to use Logos on PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, or the web and you’ve got one of the world’s most powerful and versatile tools for biblical research.

Students struggle to pay for higher education. The cost of credits and resources can often be prohibitive which leaves them to the hard, unnecessary choice of doing without the books they need to excel. When you factor in the time spent on research and homework, there’s often little time left for that important second job. With Logos, research is done in a fraction of the time, enabling students to do less searching and more reading. Our well-rounded base packages and bundles make books more affordable. Students are spending less money and saving more time, which results in a better educational experience.

Also, let’s be honest—many Bible colleges have amazing programs but struggle to keep up technologically. Students want a top-notch theological education without having to sacrifice the advantages that technology affords them.

Standardizing on Logos in their educational program keeps them on the cutting edge of Bible study while outfitting them with an amazing, portable theological library for life.

Here’s a sample of the prestigious schools that require Logos in their classes:

  • Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Harvard Divinity School
  • Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Ashland Theological Seminary
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • Calvin Theological Seminary
  • Trinity Western University
  • Pacific Life Bible College
  • Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Florida School of Preaching
  • Liberty University
  • Concordia Seminary
  • Calvary Bible Theological Seminary
  • Texas Baptist Institute
  • Lancaster Bible College
  • The Master’s Seminary
  • And more

Include Logos in Your Curricula

The Preaching and Teaching DMin from Knox isn’t the only academic program requiring Logos. Institutions have made Logos a fundamental component for various classes, including:

  • Advanced Greek
  • Hermeneutics
  • Counseling
  • Bible Study Methods
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Computer Assisted Greek Study Tools
  • New Testament Biblical Theology
  • Old Testament Biblical Theology
  • Apologetics
  • And so many more!

If you want to start using Logos with your class syllabus, or already are but don’t see your school on our list, send us an email!

Students: Don’t Miss These Opportunities

There’s only a couple more days to enter to win the $20,000 Haddon Robinson Scholarship. If you’ve been thinking about getting your doctorate, the Preaching and Teaching DMin from Knox Theological Seminary and Logos Bible Software is perfect for you!

You can also enter to win a $1,000 tuition scholarship and a copy of Scholar’s Library from SeminaryScholarship.com or  BibleCollegeScholarship.com.

Lastly, if you are a student going to Bible college, seminary, university, or a similar institution, you are also eligible for our Logos Academic Discount Program.

Logos is an invaluable resource for  the students and faculty of any Bible school. Email us now, and find out how Logos can give students the tools they need to succeed.

The Holy Land: Help Logos Craft the Perfect Tours!

With Logos 4, you have tons of maps and pictures to help contextualize the text you’re reading. But imagine if you could actually gaze over the Sea of Galilee, walk the streets of Jerusalem, and stand on the Temple Mount. How would that enhance your understanding of—and perspective on—the Bible?

Now you have the opportunity to experience the Bible: to see firsthand the places and things you’re reading about. We’re introducing tours of Israel. To increase the appeal, we’re planning to offer a few different types:

  • General: This is the standard tour of Israel. Visit biblical sites with other tourists from around the world and learn from knowledgeable local guides.
  • Pastor/Church: How about a pastor-led tour of Israel? Your pastor can lead your church, teaching you as you go.
  • Author-Led: Enjoy a  tour of Israel led by your favorite author or theologian.
  • Scholarly: Be led through Israel by an expert in the area’s history and significant sites.
  • VIP/Custom: Tell us exactly what you want to see and we’ll customize the trip just for you. Want to take a more intimate group? Or really immerse yourself in one place?

Interested in Going? Let Us Know!

Since tours are a new endeavor for us, we’d love your feedback. Go to Faithlifetours.com and take the brief survey to let us know what tours you’re interested in. Your responses will help us arrange tours in the coming years.

While you’re at Faithlifetours.com, sign up for the Faithlife Tours email list to be the first to know when the site launches and get information about our first group of tours!

Faithlife: Build a Community Wrapped Around the Word



Faithlife is where Christian community happens online. There’s no place quite like it for sharing life with other believers. You keep up with friends on Facebook. You manage your messages with email. If you have a band, you (might) still be on MySpace. Now there’s a place to connect with your church, your friends, and your school over what’s most important: God and his Word.

  • Create and join groups of friends, family, coworkers, and classmates.
  • Share your Logos resource notes with groups.
  • Share announcements, news, and events with your church groups.
  • Create study groups and share documents for your seminary classes.
  • Share notes on Bible verses with your groups through the Faithlife Study Bible.

And soon, you’ll be able to do much, much more.

Don’t Forget the FSB!

Faithlife is a community wrapped around the Word, so we’ve developed a study Bible for the community. The Faithlife Study Bible is ever growing, mobile-friendly, group-focused, and huge—it’s the largest study Bible in the world. The FSB is compatible with several different translations, it includes a built-in Bible dictionary, and it lets you share notes and reading plans with your Faithlife groups.

Best of all: you can get it free through 2014!

How to Join

Sign in at Faithlife.com with your Logos account. If you don’t have an account already, register a new account for free. (If you have had a Logos.com account for a while but have forgotten your password, you can go to Logos.com/forgotpassword to reset it.) Then complete your profile with a picture and more information about you. It’s totally private—you control what can and cannot be seen. Once your profile’s set up, find your church’s Faithlife group, or start creating your own groups.

Faithlife is always improving with updates and new features. Do you know a way to make it better? Do you want to talk to other Faithlife users? Why not get involved on the Faithlife forum?

We’ll see you on Faithlife!